Fest Practices, Part 6

...continued from Part 5: Promote Yourself Or Get Lost


Today’s your event. Doors just opened. You’ve planned for this. You got this. Get ‘em!

If you’re just joining us, we’ve already laid the foundation in this blog series with recommendations for event preparedness—in terms of what you can do internally and externally to be successful during off-site (or special on-site) functions. Now, we continue with how to put what you’ve learned into action, and yes—it continues with how well you’ve trained your people.  


By now, you will have already set the expectation for staff performance. Who you hired weeks, months, or even years ago—and to what degree you hold them accountable—will influence how smoothly operations run today. Assuming you’ve done right by them and have set them up for success, you shouldn’t have to micromanage anyone because they’re vested in your mission and the brand they represent. Because they trust you. Because you’ve treated them with dignity and respect, and given them the tools they need.


Keep your head on a swivel. We often only heed this warning in dangerous situations when we might be at risk. And just like that, by arming ourselves with intentional self-awareness we can prevent most preventable scenarios. This means not only being conscious of ourselves but every complementary and competing factor that may influence our next move. Aside from occasionally getting in our own way, the two most critical common denominators will be your beer and your guests—both are necessary and exist to propel the other. 

Self-awareness 101. Do you have a brand new beer or a rare, highly sought-after one on tap today that deserves some special recognition? If so, make sure you understand how to answer the ever-popular question, “What’s your best beer?” They are not asking which one is your favorite, but for some reason bartenders and servers always botch this opportunity. They feel obligated to respond with, “Well, MY favorite beer that we have on right now is…” Thanks, but I don’t care; that’s not what I asked. 

Granted, some nervous, novice customers may ask for your opinion because they don’t know well enough, and okay, sure—throw ‘em a bone, but excited and curious customers want to be educated without bias. Being at the mercy of your personal (and potentially different) tastes could mean that I just missed that one other beer of yours that I would’ve fallen in love with. Instead, you gave me the radler because you don’t like “hoppy” beers. So, give me the facts: the beer’s flavor profile, its stats, noteworthiness, and when it makes sense—whether it has undeniable, mass appeal. 


You could have worse problems than a line of people excited about what you’re serving. This comes with a caveat that’s twofold: 1) They really don’t want to wait, and 2) If they have to for any extended period of time, they’re going to be disappointed if you haven’t articulated the expectations, and then run out of what they’re waiting for. Common sense, right? Seems fair, right? Yet, time and time again we see breweries brush off consumer frustration with a reaction of, “Well, you should’ve been in line sooner.” 

While you can’t hold everyone’s hands, you can lead them to water sooner. Communicate before so you don’t have to apologize after. Use your brand’s cache and the demand for your product to your advantage, not a flag to wave “Gotcha” in your fans’ faces. If you expect a keg of a hot ticket item to kick quick, keep us on our toes because getting caught flat footed is a major buzzkill.  

To do so, assign a designated person to manage crowd control, but not in the bouncer-kicking-people-out-of-a-nightclub-kind-of-way. Instead, their job is to invite, entice, and play host.


If you can afford the extra body, cut their tether to your booth so they can be a mobile cheerleader. This is the person who adopts the event’s official hashtag. Wait. They don’t have one?! Create one. And make it trend. Have them lean into the social platform that works best for you and where the event admins and attendees seem to be the most active. But, also consider the following.

  • Announce your booth number/location, and mention your neighbors if you’re packed in like sardines. Help me find you, not make me look for you. Do this at least once on every social platform you occupy—before start time. If I’m a fan of yours, I will check my favorite feed first and look for your most recent post. If it’s dated, it could be fair for me to assume you’re sleeping and don’t mind whether or not I make my way to you.
  • Take photos of your booth setup, the cool and unique, attendees drinking your stuff (ask nicely for permission first), and the seemingly mundane. In addition to using them to promote yourself the day of, you can bank those photos and repurpose them for future use, particularly in promoting your next event.
    • Pro tip: Take photos in portrait and landscape orientations. Delete the bad ones, dress up the keepers with a quick auto-filter if it helps, crop out dude’s drunk face, and upload them somewhere your team can access them later.
  • If you don’t have to be tied behind the booth, hustle the crowd. If you coordinate a plan of attack with your other team members, who’s to say you couldn’t offer “cocktail service” to the people waiting in line? If you know the majority of people are stalling for Beer A to be tapped, start a second line for everyone who wants Beers B-Z. Then, take their orders, bring them their beers, and collect that token or ticket (if applicable). Now, they will tell everyone that you just literally went the extra step to serve them.
  • Are you comfortable in front of the camera? Go live on your Instagram Story (it can simultaneously auto-publish to your Facebook Story as well). Keep your vids short and sweet. Film in 15-second increments to play nice with how they clip your content, and add captions so users can still follow along visually if the event is too loud (it probably is). Can you hear me now?
  • If not already, establish a persona/voice for your brand on Twitter, and live-tweet the day’s event from that perspective. 
  • And, please please please give us a heads up before you tap Barrel-Aged Bucket List Beer. It’ll start the on-site, word-of-mouth buzz. Update us when it’s tapped, and let us down gently when it kicks. 


The moral: Be proactive, and get moving. Unless you really are that cool and don’t need the boost, be proud of your participation and let that enthusiasm rip.

Continue reading Part 7: Play Nice in the Sandbox. Or, subscribe to our newsletter to receive the rest of the series delivered to your inbox as it’s published.